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Fashionomics Friday - How to not look Cheap

Does it sound better if I say "How to look expensive"?

For the majority of us out there, shopping at designer stores or even high-end high street is not a reality.  For us, a lot of our outfits come for Target, Kmart or similar.  Throw in a little opshopping and I'm reckoning I've covered 80% of my wardrobe.

So how do you wear cheap clothes and not look cheap.  Certainly as I've gotten older I've realised that the cut of cheaper clothes isn't always flattering on a 40+ figure.  Here are my top three tips for not looking cheap.

Pick and Mix.

As I hinted above, not all cheap clothing is created equal.  You only have to take a gander at Kmart to know that some of the stuff on the shelves will be worn, washed and then binned almost straight after.  That's not to say that's true of all of it though.

You have to pick and choose carefully what you buy at cheaper stores - this is my list of "YES, GO FOR ITS".
  • ponte leggings - seriously, noone cares if you spent $10 or $80 on your leggings.  If they are plain, black and stretchy, then they work.  Go for ponte though, rather than cotton lycra as they don't bag and keep their shape better.

  • jeggings - the same as leggings.  Just make sure you try them on and ensure they fit well.  Do a few star jumps (quietly) in the fitting room to ensure they don't start travelling downwards after a few minutes wear.
  • jersey basics - I love Target's range of basic tees and singlets.  They come in longer lengths so are ideal for layering and a multitude of colours (though I only ever seem to buy grey, black and white).
  • sportswear - in an ideal world I'd walk around with another woman's christian name emblazoned across my arse, but I can't get passed the quality and price of Kmart's sportswear at the moment.  Check it out, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

And this is my list of "AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE".

  • Jackets and Coats - when we're talking the super cheap stores like Kmart, their jackets just don't work.  The tailoring it all wrong and the fit is never right.  If you can't afford to buy at a more expensive store, then the op shops always have a fabulous range of blazers and winter coats for less than you'd pay at a cheap high street store.
  • Jeans - this one may be more to do with the shape than the jeans themselves, but I think if you pay a little more for them, you get a much better fit (and I'm only talking Target prices here - their jeans are magnificent).
  • Handbags - I'm pretty sure I'm going to offend/ostracise/pee off some people now but I just don't do cheap bags.  They might be a bargain and you might get to change them every season but I'm from the "investment bag" point of view.  I'd rather have far fewer bags that are good quality leather than shelves full of cheap plastic-y ones that smell like Coles carrier bags.  If a leather bag is out of your budget entirely, then make sure the pleather of your chosen bag is matte and textured rather than shiny.

The rule of "plus one".

I'm not talking about blogger invitations here.  My rule of Plus One means this - add just one expensive item to your outfit to elevate it to superstar status.  It might be your fabulous designer leather bag, or a diamond pendant your gran left you, or even perfectly manicured fingernails.  Just that one thing will stop your outfit looking cheap.

We all have friends who can make Kmart look like Armani (I'm hoping I'm one of them, haha!) and I guarantee this is how they roll.  Give it a try and see if it works for you.

Get the basics right.

Trinny and Susannah (my idols) knew exactly what they were doing when they grabbed their victims knockers and told them that their bra was completely the wrong size.

It doesn't matter how fabulous or expensive your dress was, if you have four boobs instead of two and enough VPL to circumnavigate the globe then you are going to look cheap.

Get your bra fitted (Target, David Jones and Myers all do it simply for the pleasure of touching your boobs - JOKE!) and wear seamless knickers.  If you can face sucky-in pants without fainting like a Victorian lady then go for those too.  They make me feel claustrophobic!

Do you have any tips on how not to look cheap?


  1. Great tips, couldn't agree more with having your bra fitted, it can really make or break your outfit.

  2. Highly agree and given that I just picked up a Cue blazer for $11 at the Salvos yesterday feel like I am killing this look today!

  3. Great tips, really enjoyed this post.

  4. Making an outstanding fashion is not easy. We need to follow some exceptional tips to make ourselves successful in introducing awesome fashion and in this blog several effective ideas are shared for moms about how they can create outstanding appearance in their old ages and also how to make them look fabulous. Thank you very much for sharing this post. Hope that you will keep sharing more and more with us.

  5. I have noticed the quality of Big W clothes is really lacking these days; they might be cheap but they don't last the distance :-(

  6. Such a great post! For me, the art of not looking cheap really comes down to mixing high street, high end and a good dose of vintage.


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